Sunday, December 31, 2017

Year in Review: 1917

Yesterday, HudsonValley360 reviewed 2017 in an editorial: "From Hillary to 'Alice,' 2017 was a wild and crazy year." Among the many notable events of the year mentioned in the piece was this: "The Hudson Common Council created more voter-equitable ward boundaries in a historic redistricting project." In fact, although impacting the aldermen as well as the supervisors, the Council had nothing to do with it. The redistricting was accomplished by a referendum initiated by a group made up mostly of private citizens.

Assuming the retrospection published in the Hudson Evening Register on December 29 and 31, 1917, is generally correct in its account of events, we continue our review of the review, begun on Friday, selecting the most interesting in the lists for each month.


Here are Gossips' picks for interesting things that happened between April and November 1917.
April 1--"H" company, 71st regiment, of New York city, arrived in Hudson to guard N.Y.C. property.
April 14--"F" company returned from Orange county and escorted to armory by hundreds of persons.
April 16--Strike on at "H" branch of the Union mill.
May 4--Jeremiah R. Coffey killed by a fall off a scaffold at Atlas cement plant.
May 12--A $10,000 fire occurred at the Atlas Building & Material company's plant in Greenport.
May 14--Knights of Columbus made big hit on opening night with their minstrel show in the Playhouse.
May 23--Sixty-seventh anniversary of A.M.E. Zion church celebrated.
June 1--First circus of season in town, it being Richard's show.
June 11--Benedict Gifford, captain of Hudson Home Depot unit, announced names of many Hudsonians who had joined.
June 12--Common Council appropriated $5,200 for improving State and Chapel streets.
June 20--Police began taking census of dogs in Hudson.
June 24--Mary Howe, William R. Conine, Angela Eigo and Philip Broll comprised the graduating class of St. Mary's Academy.
June 25--Katherine Stinson, 19-year-old aviatrix, passed Hudson on trip from Buffalo to Washington in the interest of the Red Cross.
June 26--Thirty-two graduates, the largest number in the history of Hudson High school, received diplomas at the Playhouse.
July 6--Police Commission decided to have two motor policemen.
July 10--Playground for Hudson children opened with 200 little ones present.
July 16--Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel celebrated by local Italians with fireworks and band concert.
July 31--At 3 o'clock the official thermometer at Athens registered at 96 degrees above zero, three degrees lower than that time yesterday.
August 2--Largest gas generator constructed in the world sent from Gifford-Wood shop for the United States Aviation department; Hudson and vicinity visited by severe electrical storm.
August 19--Katherine Stinson passed part of the day in Athens, as her airship failed to operate properly in a contemplated flight to Sheepshead Bay.
August 21--Daughters of Columbia county started fund to buy an ambulance to be used in France.
August 23--Supervisors empowered committee to secure options on land for tuberculosis hospital in Columbia county.
August 26--Traffic Officers Connor and McNamara, of Hudson police force, made thirteen arrests.
August 27--Boy ran away with about $200 given him by Assessor Frank McDonald to deposit in a Hudson bank.
August 31--Henry Smith . . . smothered to death in bin at Knickerbocker cement plant.
September 1--Gifford-Wood Co. admitted it was considering enlarging its plant.
Sept. 5--Registration in public schools of Hudson totaled 1,557, St. Mary's academy, 355; Theodore Roosevelt spoke at the Chatham fair.
Sept. 10--Much damage in Columbia county was caused by the frost.
Sept. 14--Wildcats reported on Mount Merino.
Sept. 29--Register announced that candidates for an office in Columbia county or Hudson may not be assured of their election or defeat until December 18, because of the soldier vote.
October 2--The Worth House changed hands, Charles B. Miller taking it over from his brother, Harry C. Miller, who was connected with it since 1875.
Oct. 3--Smallest deep-water boat in the world arrived at Hudson dock in charge of skipper Drake.
Oct. 18--Big suffrage mass meeting in the city hall here, at which Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, Mr. and Mrs. James L. Laidlaw and Judge McNamee spoke.
Oct. 26--Aviator dropped bombs upon Hudson, but missiles were filled with Liberty loan literature.
Nov. 9--Register learned that New York Telephone company contemplated making improvements to its system in Hudson, costing nearly $40,000.
And so we end our highlights of the Evening Register's review of 1917 in Hudson.

New Year's Eve 1917

As we have already noted, a hundred years ago, Hudson was experiencing brutally cold temperatures, just as we are today. It's received wisdom that letting cold water drip from faucets can help prevent pipes in your house from freezing. It's the same today as it was a hundred years ago, but back then, the practice in Hudson had disturbing consequences.

It will take more research than I am able now to devote to the task to discover what the "old pumping apparatuses" were in 1917, but I hope our current water supply is adequate to tolerate the dripping faucets of people who fear their pipes might freeze. In the interest of conservation, those folks may want to capture that dripping water and put it to some use.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Great War: December 29, 1917

I started this series months ago with the aim of scouring newspapers from a hundred years ago to find and share articles that provided insight into what life was like on the home front--specifically in Hudson--during World War I. On April 5, the day before the United States declared war, I shared the account of how C. H. Frese, a German-born naturalized citizen who owned a delicatessen at 421 Warren Street, was being harassed for allegedly having "radically pro-German" views. Somewhat related is this news item discovered in the Hudson Evening Register for December 29, 1917.


I found George Stubits in the census records for 1920 and learned that he had been born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as were his mother and father; German was his native language; he had immigrated to the United States in 1910, when he was 15; he was an alien; and he worked as a packer at the cement works, presumably Atlas Cement Company. During World War I, aliens--non-citizens--were required to register for the draft although they were not subject to induction into military service.

The newspaper says Stubits lived at 15 Power Avenue, but the census records indicate that in 1920 he was a lodger in the home of Stephen and Katie Lakics at 16 Power Avenue. The picture below, from the Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey, shows 16 Power Avenue before it and the rest of the houses in the part of Hudson known as Simpsonville were demolished in the 1970s.

It may seem remarkable to us today, but in 1920, nine people lived in this house: Stephen and Katie Lakics, their three children, ages 8, 4, and 1, and four men who were lodgers. Except for the children, who were born in the United States, all were immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The census lists Stephen Lakics' occupation as "fireman" at the cement works. Three of the four lodgers were also employed at the cement works. The fourth lodger was a laborer in a textile mill.  

Gone for Now . . . Maybe Forever

As some of you may have already noticed, Park Falafel & Pizza is closed--perhaps for the winter season, perhaps forever.

Earlier this week, Brian Herman, the owner of Park Falafel, told Gossips that the restaurant would be closed for the season, but today on Facebook Herman made the following statement, which he agreed to let me share with a broader audience:
When I founded PFP over seven years ago, my concept was a place with healthy, affordable, and tasty food. The thought was that Hudson and Columbia County was ready to support such a concept. Running the business totally "on the books," paying fair wages and trying to provide a good work environment has become financially unsustainable. Because of my other obligations, I could not run the restaurant myself and I found out that no matter how good a staff we had, it could not stay afloat without continued owner-presence. Closing the place was a very hard decision--I know it is a loss for our city, our customers and our devoted employees. But the financial cost to keep it open became too much to bear. We are now reviewing our options, hoping to find a way to reopen and continue our goals. Anyone with the interest and ability to keep PFP open, I would be appreciative to hear your thoughts. Thank you everyone for your support and love. It is greatly appreciated. I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year and I hope Park can return better and stronger than ever in the new year.
Gossips shares the hope that Park Falafel & Pizza will return in the new year.

All Good Things Must End . . .

The Register-Star today has an interview by Amanda Purcell with our mayor as she prepares to leave office: "An exit interview with Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton."

Thank you, Mayor Hamilton for taking on a difficult task, devoting two years of your life to Hudson, and moving our city forward! 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Word Just In from City Hall

Gossips just got word from City Treasurer Heather Campbell that the online system for prepaying 2018 property taxes is working again! To pay your taxes online, go to the City of Hudson click on the link to the online system found on the home page.

Year in Review: 1917

On December 29, 1917, the Hudson Evening Register began its retrospection on the year coming to an end, and so today, a hundred years later, Gossips shares those musings with you.

Within a few days 1917 will have passed to the land of Never Return, but not into oblivion. It is doubtful if 1918 will bring forth more startling events or things of a greater magnitude than those which occurred during the old year.
Numerous developments during 1917 in Columbia county were unprecedented as a result of the great world conflict. Strange things, more wonderful than can be imagined, actually happen in a short period of time's progress, and to-night about 600 Columbia county young men are awaiting orders to go into the trenches or to assist in the battle for democracy, though less than a year ago they were enjoying the environments of home life. Who knows what 1918 has in store for them? Who knows how many more will be away from home a year from to-night? What the future has in store for residents of Columbia county is a matter for conjecture.
Prominent persons answered the call of father time; there were unusual developments in industrial activities; economical measures of considerable merit have been adopted; great projects have sprung up and received splendid support, and various other unexpected things happened--whilst 1917 reigned.
Throughout the old year a wave of prosperity was experienced, hampered only by a scarcity of help and somewhat by a shortage of fuel. During the last twelve months hundreds of persons cultivated the thrift habit and became more economical than they were during the preceding year.
What followed this preamble was a month-by-month list of noteworthy events that occurred during 1917. The lists for January, February, and March were published on Saturday, December 29, with the promise that the review would continue on Monday, December 31. (The Register wasn't published on Sunday.) Gossips will recount just a few of the items considered noteworthy in 1917.
January 7--Justice Chester holds that no nuisance existed at Atlas cement plant and awarded $5,000 for damage incurred by Frank Shults.
We include this for a few reasons. First, according to the Evening Register's own report, the judgment was handed down on January 6, 1917, not January 7. Also, when the lawsuit was initiated in November 1916 and when the ruling was made, the cement company was known as New York & New England Cement and Lime Company; at the end of 1917, it is Atlas Cement. It's also interesting how the judgment was summarized. Mabel Hoffman and Frank Shults sued for damages to their late mother's house and farm caused by the cement company and sought an injunction against the cement company "to restrain any operation of the cement company that might cause any further dust to come on the plaintiffs' property." They were awarded $5,000 in damages, but there was no injunction. 
February 5--Hudson in the grip of season's worst storm.
February 26--X-Ray machine installed in Hudson hospital.
February 27--Potatoes boycotted because of high prices.
March 2--Motion pictures of ice cutting methods taken on Underhill pond under direction of Gifford Wood Company.
March 23--Ice was moving in the Hudson River.
March 28--Frederick Riley, Herman Coon and Harry Requa, of Athens, drowned in the Hudson river.
Gossips' recounting of this 1917 retrospection will continue on December 31.  

Prepaying 2018 Taxes

Gossips has learned that the demand to prepay 2018 property taxes in Hudson has overwhelmed the online payment system; requests for processing payments have already exceeded the daily limit. There are still two more days to pay online, but if you don't want to take any chances, this seems to be the advice to follow: Use the online system to print out your 2018 tax bill and take it to the Bank of Greene County, 21 North Seventh Street, before 3:00 p.m., where they will accept payment. You can access the online payment system from the home page of the City of Hudson website

On the subject of prepaying 2018 property taxes, Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton just issued the following statement:
The City of Hudson is aware of and working to resolve the problem with our online payment capabilities. The city WILL ACCEPT POSTMARKS. Print the page showing your filled cart from the online payment site, include it with your check made out to the City of Hudson, make sure the envelope is postmarked by the post office in 2017, and mail to 520 Warren Street, Hudson NY 12534.
We apologize for the inconvenience and are making every effort to restore online payment capabilities. Please direct any question to the City Treasurer's Office at (518) 828-0212.

Bitter Cold--Now and a Century Ago

It was 4 degrees when Joey and I ventured out on our morning walk at 9 a.m. The item below, which appeared on the front page of the Hudson Evening Register for December 29, 1917, indicates that Hudson was suffering the same--even worse--bitter cold temperatures a hundred years ago.

Of interest, apropos the final paragraph, the first known use of the term windchill was in 1939, around the time polar scientists working in the Antarctic were developing formulas to calculate the effect of wind on lowering temperature. Those formulas and charts started being used by the National Weather Service in the 1970s.

Just to be clear, Gossips notes the similar weather conditions in 1917 and 2017 as a curiosity, not to provide support to climate change deniers.

On the Waterfront in 1957

The waterfront is the focus of Hudson's Downtown Revitalization Initiative. In the context of that ongoing process, it seems fitting to share this photograph, from the Evelyn and Robert Monthie Slide Collection at the Columbia County Historical Society, of the Hudson waterfront, that part of it which is now the state boat launch, as it was in May 1967. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

The caption beneath the picture reads:
SCHEDULED FOR CHANGE--This section of the city's waterfront, as seen from Promenade Hill, is expected to change considerably in the weeks ahead. The brick structure at the left, presently the DPW garage, and the remaining fishing shacks and docking facilities will be razed to make way for the long awaited Hudson Boat Launch Site. The large structure at the water's edge is the Hudson Power Boat Association, which will remain intact. Assemblyman Clarence D. Lane said a call for bids will be issued in two weeks with actual construction getting underway in six weeks. The Assemblyman said the launch site will be built at a cost in excess of the former $130,000 proposed and will be one of the more elaborate launch sites in New York State. 
When the new boat launch was dedicated more than a year later in August 1968, Mayor Samuel Wheeler reportedly declared that he wanted "fishing facilities" to be created at the site.

Fifty years later, the public pier, one of the proposed DRI projects, may finally fulfill Wheeler's desire for fishing facilities at the waterfront.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

WAMC on the Trash Incineration Issue

This afternoon, WAMC's Dave Lucas reported on the proposal to incinerate trash from Connecticut in the cement kiln at LafargeHolcim in Ravena. That report can be heard here.

Update on Incinerating Garbage

There was a press conference yesterday in Coeymans about the proposal to incinerate tons of trash from seventy towns in Connecticut at the LafargeHolcim plant in Ravena. What happened at that press conference was reported both by Columbia-Greene Media--"Officials, advocates give vehement thumbs down to trash plan"--and by the Albany Times Union--"Opponents cheer the demise of the proposed cement kiln garbage incineration plan."  

One interesting revelation at the press conference was made by Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator, who is quoted in the Columbia-Greene Media article as saying, "This [project] went through two levels of approval in Connecticut." She called on LafargeHolcim to send a letter to the State of Connecticut officially withdrawing from the process and to make a "clear, written commitment that they would never burn solid waste at the cement kiln." 

The Word on Prepaying Property Taxes

Yesterday, the IRS issued a statement about prepaying property taxes which indicated that people could deduct 2018 property taxes prepaid in 2017 only if the 2018 taxes have already been assessed. To quote from the document, "A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017." There was an article in the New York Times yesterday based on that statement from the IRS: "Prepaying Your Property Taxes? I.R.S. Cautions It Might Not Pay Off." 

The good news for property owners in Hudson is that the tax bills for the four quarters of 2018 were ready to go out on December 31, 2017. For the past few days, the city treasurer's office has been scrambling to move that up a few days to enable 2018 payments to be made online, beginning tomorrow morning, Friday, December 29, until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 31, by clicking here

Gossips was been advised that, owing to system limitations, the treasurer's office will not be able to accept cash or check payments, but the staff there will be ready, willing, and able to assist taxpayers with making payments online. There will be a flat fee of $2.50 for an echeck or a calculated percent charge based on the amount due if using a credit card.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Brownfield Remediation Update

On December 6, Gossips published Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton's statement that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was to begin excavation work at the brownfield on the corner of North Second and Mill streets, once the site of Foster's Refrigeration, on Monday, December 11. Contaminated soil would be removed and disposed of offsite, and the area would be backfilled. 

It is not known if the work began as scheduled on December 11, but today two readers--one in the morning, one in the late afternoon--reported earth-moving equipment and activity at the site, and they provided pictures.

Photo: Keith Kanaga
Photo: Peter Jung
Capping and restoration will begin in the spring.

Update: Rob Perry, superintendent of the Department of Public Works, has provided the information that the excavation work at the site began on Monday, December 18.

More on Prepaying 2018 Property Taxes

Here's additional information on prepaying your 2018 property taxes from City Treasurer Heather Campbell:
The City understands the potential negative financial impacts to property owners of the tax reform bill signed into effect by President Trump last Friday, and we are making every effort to provide relief in the form of 2018 property tax prepayments.
The City is reissuing the warrant for 12/28/2017, so the tax bill will be able to be paid online on Friday 12/29/2017 at
Search for the bill by your name, find all four quarters (assuming you want to pay the entire year) and put all four quarterly installments in your shopping basket to pay. There will be a flat fee of $2.50 for an echeck, or a calculated percent charge based on the amount due if using a credit card.
If you have any other questions, please contact my office at (518) 828-0212. We will do our best in this short time to assist you and all taxpayers in filing.

Breaking News from City Hall

Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton just released the following statement:
In response to the Executive Order issued by Governor Cuomo on December 22, the City of Hudson will be issuing a new tax warrant dated tomorrow, December 28, 2017, for 2018 property taxes. While timing is extremely short, and we have not worked out all of the logistics, we will begin accepting payments on Friday, December 29. Anyone wishing to prepay 2018 property taxes (with the exception of school taxes) can do so in person at the City Treasurer's office from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 29, or online between 8:30 a.m. Friday and 11:59 p.m. Sunday, December 31. The online payment system can be accessed by clicking here.
The City understands the potential negative financial impacts to property owners of the tax reform bill signed into effect by President Trump last Friday, and we are making every effort to provide relief in the form of 2018 property tax prepayments. Please direct any quetions to the City Treasurer's office at (518) 828-0212.
The recently adopted new tax law includes a $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes--property taxes and incomes taxes-- people can deduct on their federal income tax returns.

More about Lafarge, Mustang, and Trash

Brian Nearing, environmental reporter for the Albany Times Union, had in article in yesterday's paper on the situation upriver: "Lafarge denies waste burning in Ravena." Nearing reports that not only is David Fletcher, plant manager for Lafarge in Ravena, denying that such a plan is being pursued, but John Dewey, the CEO for Mustang Renewable Power Ventures, has confirmed that his company is "no longer in discussions with Lafarge about this opportunity." 

Meanwhile, it seems, a press conference on the subject in Coeymans this morning is still going forward.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

More About Burning Connecticut Trash

Photo: WAMC
This morning, Gossips reported that Lafarge was denying that the cement plant in Ravena had any plans to incinerate trash from Connecticut. Despite that denial, WAMC has been reporting all day that Capital District leaders are holding a news conference tomorrow morning in the Town of Coeymans: "Official React: CT Garbage to NY Plan." Among the speakers at the press event will be Albany County Executive Dan McCoy and former EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck.

Christmas Night in Hudson, 1917

Although DPW crews had to be out on Christmas to plow the snow off the streets, our volunteer firefighters seem to have managed to get through Christmas without being called out into the cold. This was not the case a hundred years ago. The Hudson Evening Register for December 26, 1917, reported that on Christmas night, Rogers Hose, whose firehouse is now American Glory, and Evans Hook & Ladder, whose firehouse is now The Spotty Dog, responded to a chimney fire at the home of Benjamin Probst, Jr.  

The state census records for 1915 indicate that Benjamin Probst, Jr., his wife, and five children lived at 305 Union Street.

The Masonic Hall, also known as St. John's Hall, was completed in 1889. The Probst house can be seen in this early photograph of the building, which is now Mid-Hudson Media. 

Photo courtesy Historic Hudson
This is how the house, now absent its little gabled portico, looks today.



A Concrete Denial

On December 16, Gossips reported about a proposal to incinerate trash from Connecticut in the cement kiln at the Lafarge plant in Ravena: "Connecticut Garbage in Upstate New York." Three days later, on December 19, Hudson Valley 360 picked up on the story: "Connecticut's trash may be headed for Lafarge."  Two days after that, on December 21, WAMC reported the story: "Connecticut May Send Trash to Southern Albany County." Today, December 26, in an ad that appears in the Albany Times Union, David Fletcher. manager of the Lafarge plant in Ravena, denies that there is any such plan in place and asserts that Mustang Renewable Power Ventures named the Lafarge plant as a partner in their proposal without the consent of Lafarge.


Thanks to Virginia Martin to bringing this to our attention

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Great War: December 24, 1917

A hundred years ago, on Christmas Eve, the following message appeared on the editorial page of the Hudson Evening Register, beneath an image that, given today's sensibilities, seems quite inappropriate. Both are shared, with an invitation to muse on how our world today is different from the world a hundred years ago. 


Merry Christmas to all in 2017, from The Gossips of Rivertown.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Celebrations for Hudson Churches

Later today, the First Presbyterian Church will celebrate, with a Christmas Eve service, its re-opening after a year of being closed for structural repairs. A hundred years ago, the Baptist Church was celebrating, with a Dedicatory Week of services, the church's re-opening after two years of structural repair and rebuilding. On December 26, 1915, a freakishly fierce blizzard topped the church's steeple. Two years ago, Gossips recalled that disaster, as it was reported in the Hudson Evening Register: "The Destruction of a Steeple." Today, Gossips shares the account of the re-dedication of the church building, now the site of the Rock Solid Church, which appeared in the Evening Register on December 24, 1917. 


The first picture below shows the Baptist Church as it appears today. Its steeple can be seen in the historic picture that follows. 

The Baptist Church steeple appears at the left in this picture. At the right is the original tower of the First Presbyterian Church, before its expansion and addition of its soaring Gothic steeple in 1877. In the center is the tower of the Methodist Episcopal Church on South Third Street, now the Hudson Youth Center.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Great War: Christmas 1917

In past years, in the days preceding Christmas, Gossips has often featured images, ads, and holiday shopping guides that appeared in the Hudson Evening Register a hundred years before. In 1917, however, with the war being fought in Europe, the attention to Christmas and gift shopping in the newspaper doesn't seem to have been quite so lavish as in previous years. The advertisement below, which appeared in the Evening Register one week before Christmas, caught my attention, because it recommends gifts for the "boys over there."

The "Pictures of Home" advocated in this advertisement were hand-colored photographs. Wallace Nutting (1861-1941), a former Congregational minister, was the best known exponent of the genre. In 1917, Nutting had a studio and home in Framingham, Massachusetts, he called "Nuttingholme," where he employed as many as 200 colorists, working at hand-painting photographs. David Davidson (1881-1967) was one of several photographers who worked with Nutting and went on to establish their own careers.

In an article that appeared several years ago in Antique Trader, Mary Manion provides this information about Nutting and Davidson:
In his day, Wallace Nutting was among the most popular and prolific artists working in America. By his own estimation, millions of his fanciful photos were produced into what became a cottage industry for the man who started out as a preacher. . . .
Nutting is regarded as being the influence behind the early 20th century revival of the American Colonial style. Typical of his interior scenes would be a woman seated by a fireplace, dressed in colonial attire, crafting needlework with the warm fire burning nearby. Cozy and inviting were the prevalent themes in these popular images. Another mark of interest for Nutting was exterior depictions of colonial facades of homes, with a woman and child posing outside the front door, dressed in fine period fashion, welcoming the viewer into their home, and perhaps into the world in a quieter time. . . .
Davidson opened the David Davidson Studio in 1907 in Rhode Island and also produced millions of hand-colored photographs until its closing in the mid-century. Similar to Nutting in style and technical skill, he has been called second only to Nutting.

Both the images accompanying this post are attributed to Wallace Nutting. It's interesting, given that Kodak had introduced the first Brownie camera in 1900, the pictures touted as "the best prevention against homesickness" during the Great War were not snapshots of family and friends but hand-painted photographs meant to evoke colonial America. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

News About the Auction

At the last Common Council meeting, Ed Cross brought up the auction of foreclosed properties that took place on November 4 when he rebuked the Council for allowing the City to seize 241 Columbia Street, the church building he rented, for nonpayment of property taxes and evict his congregation. The auction had also been a topic of discussion earlier in the evening during the Common Council Finance Committee meeting. The following is reproduced from the agenda for that meeting. According to the chart, the bid on 618 State Street was refused. 

After the auction, Gossips reported that the winning bid of $140,000 for 618 State Street had been cast by Jack Connor, who was bidding on behalf of Hudson Collective Realty LLC, yet another Galvan entity. Colin Stair, who had also bid on the house, challenged the legitimacy of Connor's bid because employees of the City of Hudson are prohibited from bidding in foreclosure auctions, and Connor is a city judge. Connor maintained that, as a judge, he was not paid by the City of Hudson and hence was not a City employee, and he was bidding on behalf of someone else. 

At the time, Carl Whitbeck, who was conducting the auction for the City, told Stair that the Common Council would have to decide whether or not the bid conformed to the rules governing the auction. The notation "TBD" (to be determined) on the chart distributed at the Finance Committee meeting suggests that the Common Council in the new year will have to decide what happens with the house.

As a point of information, Galvan already owns the building next door to 618 State Street, the original Hudson Orphan Asylum at 620 State Street; 

the building immediately behind 618 State Street; 

and the building behind 620 State Street, the old garage that was once Canape Motors.

The house at 618 State Street is the missing piece in this square of properties at the corner of State and Seventh streets.

In 2012, Galvan, in collaboration with the Mental Health Association, proposed converting the old orphanage and the old Canape garage into a transitional housing facility with twenty-four studio apartments to be called "Galvan Quarters."

Galvan Quarters never happened, but two years later Galvan was back before the Planning Board with a plan to create ten studio apartments in the old orphanage and to transform the old garage into "a multi-purpose building for educational and community service use." That plan never materialized either, but one wonders what might be in store if Galvan were to own all the buildings on that half block of State Street.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

One Good Bit of News for Dogs

On Tuesday night, the same night the Common Council passed a resolution opposing the construction of a dog park in Charles Williams Park, the Council voted unanimously to enact an amendment to Section 70-4 of the city code "to permit dogs to be present at the Riverfront Park."

Oh, happy day! Joey and I are no longer scofflaws on our morning walks by the river.

It Isn't Over Until It's Over

On the issue of the dog park, Gossips has learned that Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton has vetoed the resolution passed by the Common Council on Tuesday, which Council expressed its opposition to the construction of a dog park at Charles Williams Park and recommended that the Mayor explore "constructing a dog park at another location." If there is the will to override the mayor's veto, it would seem it would have to happen at a special meeting of the Common Council convened in the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve, although that seems unlikely, or be taken up by the new Council in January.

Never So Few . . .

The Register-Star reported today that the Common Council has rejected the plan to build a dog park in Charles Williams Park: "Council says 'no' to dog park at Charles Williams Park."  Linda Mussmann on her Facebook page claims "a victory for the Mill Street folks" and thanks the Common Council for their resolution "to nix this idea."

The fact is Common Council approval was not required to build the dog park, because no public money is being used, and the Common Council cannot deny permission to build the park. The original decision to build the dog park at Charles Williams Park was made by Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton after two years of looking for an appropriate location. The language of the resolution simply says that the Common Council "wishes to express its opposition to the construction of a dog park at Charles Williams Park" and "recommends that the Mayor explore constructing a dog park at another location."    

The resolution, which was one of a slew of resolutions that appeared for the first time at the regular meeting of the Council instead of being introduced at the informal meeting, came as a surprise to everyone except Abdus Miah (Second Ward), who, according to information received, was the instigator of the resolution. Aside from Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), who offered her old argument that the people in that area lived in apartments and weren't allowed to have pets, and the people who wanted a dog park had backyards and hence didn't need a dog park, only Rick Rector, mayor elect but still alderman for the First Ward, made any comment before the vote was taken. Rector said that it was unfortunate that a conversation with Mill Street residents had not taken place before Charles Williams Park was designated the location for the dog park, but he objected to eliminating Charles Williams Park as a possible site before there was a community conversation about siting the dog park. "The community may select that park," said Rector. Nevertheless, when it came time to vote, Rector along with every other member of the Council, most of whom represent the 135 people who want a dog park and have contributed money to build one, chose to respect the wishes of the nine people who objected to a dog park being built in a public park adjacent to their homes and passed the resolution.

You can witness the entire dog park fiasco, as well as see Robert "Doc" Donahue accept a plaque recognizing his twenty-four years on the Council and hear Ed Cross interrupt outgoing Council president Claudia DeStefano's litany of thanks to rebuke the Council for evicting his congregation and selling his church to the highest bidder (actually there was only one bidder, who bought the property for the minimum bid), by clicking here to watch Dan Udell's video of the meeting.

It's Finally Here!

Just in time for Christmas, the new City of Hudson website launched today at noon. The URL is the same as you must clear your cache before trying to access it. If you don't, you'll probably end up at the old website.

Congratulations to all who made this happen but especially to Branda Maholtz, who carried it over the finish line.